On Tuesday, Dec. 18, a group of sixth graders presented a check for $1,994 to Cindy Schmehl, director of the local nonprofit World's Window Inc., to send a total of 250 students to primary school in Zimbabwe and high school in Belize.
The group, known as ambassadors, consist of 20 students who, during a social studies unit on the disparity between rich and poor around the world, convinced their schoolmates that action was needed on the part of local students to improve the lives of their counterparts thousands of miles away.
"I think it's a great opportunity to help kids just like us to get an education," said sixth grader Bethany Caldwell.
Raising the money " and collecting items such as toothbrushes, medical supplies and soccer balls " was a schoolwide effort. Throughout November, students held a can drive, in which every BCMS student was encouraged to give what they could. More than 8,000 coins and dollar bills were donated, for the total of nearly $2,000. Students were also encouraged to donate personal care items, which will also go a long way in Zimbabwe and Belize.
"There are children who don't even get to brush their teeth," said Gunnar Zemering, another ambassador. "This is our chance to help them."
Earlier this year, all of the sixth grade social studies classes completed a "Haves and Have Nots" unit. They discovered that a third of the world's population lives on less than $1 a day, and that children in many places do not get to go to school, the impetus for the ambassadors' project.
"It's a chance for our students to learn they can have a true impact on the lives of other children by providing them with an educational opportunity that they would not otherwise receive," said sixth-grade social studies teacher Bill Reilly, who also coordinates the Global Coalition Project at Bethlehem Central Middle School. The Global Coalition is an organization of more than 30 schools around the world whose mission is to serve as an international exchange of culture, ideas and projects to promote education and understanding.